One Giant Foxhole

February 13, 2014

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

CFI's Lauren Becker dusts off a very moving essay of hers for Darwin Day, on the enormous impact Darwin's grand idea has had on humanity's view of itself:

We are not special creations, but part of a vast continuum of life. No longer children of god, we are children of nature. This is our condition. But if this new understanding is a disorder, if it has caused an identity crisis, then science, too, as in so many other cases, offers relief. 

Rep. Rush Holt praises Darwin on the floor of the House. CFI gets its meme on.

At Skeptical Inquirer, Cameron M. Smith has an idea as to why so many of us still have a problem accepting evolution:

[T]he essence of humanness is in the proactive making of things. I believe this proaction—quite unique in the animal kingdom—has conditioned the human mind to believe that complex phenomena (like plants and animals) must also be the result of proactive making

A federal judge says Kentucky must recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. Kentucky

Reconsidering the Nye-Ham debate, Hemant comes around on the whole idea (which means he now agrees with me, but will never admit it).

Facebook is analyzing the love lives of its users, and it found out that yeah, most of us are pairing up with folks from the same religious perspective. 

Former CIA officer Philip Giraldi, heavily citing CFI's position paper on proselytizing in the military, warns in The American Conservative of the multi-layered problem an "Old Testament" miiitary represents:

That the United States military appears to be increasingly a professional force that has few links to the general population is by itself disturbing. That it also might be developing a warrior class ethos that includes a certain kind of evangelical religiosity as a key element only serves to increase the distance between soldiers and most civilians, apart from the constitutional issues that it raises. 

Kootenay National Park in Canada turns out to hold a "treasure trove" of 500 million-year-old fossils.

Kimberly Winston profiles the filmmaker behind the documentary Questioning Darwin, Antony Thomas.

A pharmacist claiming religious objection to filling a prescription is fired, and now he's suing.

Archdiocese of Milwaukee, filing for bankruptcy, puts aside $4 million to victims of sexual abuse, which one victim called "obscene."

London South Bank University’s Student Union is sorry about censoring the Flying Spaghetti Monster. 

"Well, the important thing is that you've found a way to feel superior to both." Tobin Grant rounds up 10 xkcd cartoons about science and religion. 

Sam Harris responds to Dan Dennett's response to Sam Harris' forget. 

Alana Massey characterizes modern-day Iraq as "one giant foxhole," and yes, there are atheists in it

Sean Carroll at SciAm finds a silver lining in recent polling about attitudes toward evolution: the young seem to be more grounded in reality.

Lola Tinubu and Bob Churchill of the IHEU go on BBC World News to talk about discrimination and persecution of nonbelievers. 

Eric C. Miller on the religious right's twisting of progressive principles:

[A]fter decades spent publicly declaring that homosexuality is an abomination, now [religious conservatives] advocate the freedom of private citizens to believe that homosexuality is an abomination. For members and allies of the LGBT community, this should perhaps signal a step in the right direction. But current legislation demonstrates how a defensive commitment to “freedom of conscience” can conceal policy changes that are actually quite offensive.     

CFI-Indiana recently held a big civic day with a bunch of great speakers, and hey look, it's all on video

Islamist group in Russia's North Caucasus prays for an earthquake at the Olympics. Yeah. 

The Onion: Humanity euthanizes God. It was his time. 

Wacky-looking skulls probably aren't aliens

Quote(s) of the Day

Larry Womack metaphorically rips up holy books as justifications for, well, anything: 

[W]hen the scales are balanced just right, religion can provide a certain degree of cover, absolving people from or mitigating the reaction to their behavior. The shield of religion is excellent for rationalizing prejudices that we logically and empathically know are wrong. ... If every time someone said, "because God," everyone else said, "nobody cares," eventually, they'd stop doing it.

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Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

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#1 Paul Andreassen (Guest) on Thursday February 13, 2014 at 8:51am

Living in BC, home of the Kootenay National Park and the Kootenay Mountain Range, both named for the aborginal American people of the region around the park, I thought you might be interested to know how we spend most of our time rolling on the floor laughing at our other hillariously named places such as our national capitol, Ottawa. And who wouldn’t find humor in the many cities and towns in BC named for indigenous people like Nanaimo, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Squamish, Qualicum, Skookumchuck or Slocan? Of course our indigenous names hardly hold a candle to your ridiculously named (from aboriginal peoples words) state names like Ohio, Nebraska, Iowa, Dakota, Texas, Wyoming or Alaska, to name a few. I have to stop now, as I’m ROFL

#2 Paul the Morning Heretic on Thursday February 13, 2014 at 10:57am

As you might have noticed, I had already taken out the characterization, thinking better of it. My apologies for my insensitivity for the sake of a cheap laugh.

#3 Paul Andreassen (Guest) on Thursday February 13, 2014 at 4:29pm

Thanks, Paul. I really do enjoy reading all items you find, the downside being that it occupies a large chunk of my day. Sometimes I wonder how I get any work done. In any event, I didn’t want to be too heavy handed in my comment and I would have no objection if you want to take it down.
All the best from Canada,and keep up the great work,

Paul Andreassen

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